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The Author's Voice in Classical and Late Antiquity$
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Anna Marmodoro and Jonathan Hill

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670567

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670567.001.0001

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Xenophon’s and Caesar’s third-person narratives—or are they?

Xenophon’s and Caesar’s third-person narratives—or are they?

(p.39) 2 Xenophon’s and Caesar’s third-person narratives—or are they?
The Author's Voice in Classical and Late Antiquity

Christopher Pelling

Oxford University Press

Caesar’s third-person narrative style has recently attracted much attention, especially regarding his motives for using it, and its relation to those points in the text where he lapses into the first person. This chapter focusses on the nature of Caesar’s third-person style: it differs from ‘typical’ third-person usage in that the reader knows that Caesar-the-narrator and Caesar-the-character are one and the same. Caesar-the-narrator assumes and plays on this knowledge, for example by describing the actions of Caesar-the-character omnisciently (knowing his motives) but describing those of his antagonists non-omnisciently (guessing at their motives). The chapter compares Caesar’s technique to that of Xenophon, who also narrates his own actions in the third person, but without adopting the semi-first person that Caesar does. It argues that much of the impact of Caesar’s narrative derives from the complex interplay of Caesar-the-narrator with Caesar-the-character.

Keywords:   Caesar, Bellum Gallicum, Xenophon, Anabasis, Plutarch

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